Soccer

3 things Klopp got right and 1 he got wrong in Liverpool’s AC Milan win

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Liverpool kicked off their Champions League campaign in dramatic fashion after fighting back in a pulsating 3-2 win over AC Milan.

The Reds made a rapid start at Anfield and were ahead after just nine minutes when Fikayo Tomori inadvertently diverted Trent Alexander-Arnold's drive into his own net.

Mohamed Salah missed a 14th-minute penalty before Milan struck back with two goals in as many minutes through Ante Rebic and Brahim Diaz at the end of the first half.

Salah made amends for his penalty miss by firing Liverpool level minutes after the break before captain Jordan Henderson hit a 69th-minute stunner to cap a rousing Reds fightback.

Here, Daily Star Sport look at how things went for Klopp as Liverpool opened their European campaign with a win.

Things Klopp got right…

Tactical gamble pays off

Klopp elected to shuffle his pack for the visit of AC Milan, with key players such as Sadio Mane and Thiago Alacantara rested.

It was a big call that seemed like it could pay off after Liverpool's electric start.

But a nightmare two-minute spell on the stroke of the break left Liverpool trailing at the break before another dramatic European fightback.

Liverpool have already lost Roberto Firmino and Harvey Elliott to injury this term, and with the possible departures of Salah and Sadio Mane in the New Year for the Africa Cup of Nations, are going to lean heavily on their entire squad.

This was a useful run out of the likes of Divock Origi and Naby Keita, who did their chances of featuring on a more prominent basis in the coming weeks no harm.

Getting the balance right

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Despite resting a number of stars, Klopp managed to strike that difficult balance of leaving enough established stars to bail Liverpool out in the second half.

He trusted the likes of Salah, Henderson and Andrew Robertson to lead the charge against the Serie A giants from the off.

Salah has been the Reds' main man for some time and he restored parity before Henderson's glorious half-volley to turn the match on its head.

Their heroics ensured another famous European night at Anfield – despite that looking a big ask at the end of the first half.

Killing off the Alexander-Arnold debate?

England boss Gareth Southgate came under fire for his decision to deploy the youngster in midfield during England's 4-0 win over Andorra during the most recent international break.

“Why would you make the best right back in the world a midfielder,” asked a bemused Klopp last week.

And Alexander-Arnold's all-action display at right-back should settle that debate, if there really is one, once and for all.

The youngster was the catalyst for the Reds' opening goal as his shot was deflected in by Tomori at the end of a trademark surge from deep.

Alexander-Arnold showed once again why he's the perfect tactical fit for the full-back role on Wednesday night – for both club and country.

Things Klopp got wrong…

Defensive experiment gone wrong

Ever since his £75m arrival from Southampton, van Dijk has been a colossus at the back for Liverpool.

The club's record signing gave the Reds the platform to end their agonising 30-year title drought in the 2019/20 season.

His absence for the majority of last season destroyed any hopes Liverpool may have had of retaining their Premier League crown, but his return to fitness this season has given Klopp a big boost.

But after starting in all of Liverpool's four league games so far this season, Klopp made the call to protect his most influential defender for the visit of Milan.

Unfortunately for Klopp, the decision to rest van Dijk came back to haunt him as a defensive collapse at the end of the first half left Liverpool with a mountain to climb for the rest of the game.

  • Liverpool FC
  • Jurgen Klopp
  • Champions League
  • Premier League
  • Virgil van Dijk

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